(Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary)

Birders and bird-lovers across Greater Victoria can take pride in Saanich’s efforts to become a certified Bird Friendly City with Nature Canada

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary (SLCHNS) and the District of Saanich have been working hard to certify the municipality as somewhere birds can find sanctuary.

Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City certification program’s aim is to slow down and address decreasing bird populations due to human activity and habitat disruption. 

According to Nature Canada, a ‘bird friendly’ city, is one that:

  • Addresses threats to birds and mitigates them proportionately
  • Restores ecosystems in which native bird populations can grow and thrive
  • Engages residents in the joys of birding and bird admiration
  • Creates events and programming to protect birds
  • Creates municipal policies that can protect bird populations and their ecosystems
  • Creates a ‘bird team’ to oversee and lead these initiatives

Common active threats to local, native bird populations can be things like predation by domestic cats, disrupting natural ecosystems, eating food not meant for their diets as well as window and car collisions. Passive threats can also be a bird-killer too though–pollution, tainted watersheds as well as noise and light pollution are just some examples.

The District of Saanich is pleased to have this honour bestowed upon them through the work of  conservationists within the community and will continue to work to preserve and restore ecosystems alongside the SLCHNS. 

The SLCHNS prides itself on being an accessible greenspace in Saanich. The SLCHNS Society is responsible for stewarding the lands and waters they occupy as a non-profit organization.

Much of their work is in preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems, which includes this latest initiative to work for bird safety and protection. 

Two big issues in achieving and retaining their Bird Friendly City certification is working to reduce light pollution and working in their community to make windows less perilous to the bird population.

Reducing light pollution

The SLCHNS is working to raise awareness for the issue of light pollution within Saanich by encouraging residents to reduce their impact. 

Small things such as turning off outdoor and indoor lights when not using them can help bird migratory patterns in the fall and spring when birds are on the move. 

Window safety for birds

The SLCHNS is opening a new exhibit soon that will teach people how to treat their windows and protect the bird population in their area.

Learn more about birds and Saanich’s natural ecosystems at the SLCHNS.

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